President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the 2014 budget and beyond was designed to encourage the manufacturing sector for employment generation.
Jonathan said this at the inauguration of the Board of the National Competitive Council of Nigeria (NCCN) recently.
The council, which is chaired by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, is charged with the responsibility of, among other things, proposing policies and recommendations that will enhance Nigeria’s global competitiveness ranking and revitalise the Nigerian economy.
The 18-member board is also expected to generate policies and programmes that will attract domestic and foreign investment particularly in the manufacturing sector, create sales for local businesses and more markets for products made in Nigeria.
Jonathan said Government will continue to support private initiatives and encourage private bodies to key into our transformation agenda. We have to commend the private sector for their commitment in setting up this body that will help government and the private sector.
He further stated that “I wish the pioneer NNCC board every success in this assignment and I have every confidence that you will not let our nation down. We believe that without encouraging the private sector, especially the manufacturing sector, we cannot get out of the current economic position no matter how we struggle to produce primary produce, they will not create enough jobs for this country.
He said “that is why for the next two years and may be beyond 2015, Nigerian budget will be geared towards encouraging manufacturing sector in this country.”
The president tasked the board to bench mark, monitor and evaluate Nigeria’s competitiveness ranking and make viable recommendation that would achieve consensus on policy measures.
He also tasked them to create and release the report on Nigeria’s competitiveness to guide Nigeria’s development and policy frame work.
He said the board should coordinate local efforts to stimulate competitiveness by communicating and cooperating with stakeholders through hosting of events, seminars and local level conference.
“Let me emphasise that the federal government accords great importance to this assignment and will therefore support you to achieve this vital task of improving our country’s business environment.”
The president said members of the council were selected to serve on the board on account of their proven integrity, unwavering patriotism and uncommon sense of duty.
Responding on behalf of other members, Aganga thanked the President for his foresight and determination to create conducive environment for business to thrive in Nigeria.
He listed the gains of the council to include; increase in productivity, expansion of markets for local products, job and wealth creation.
The mnister assured that the board would deliver on its mandate.
Members of the board include the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Chief Kola Jamodu; President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and the Director-General, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mr. Frank Nweke (jnr).
Also on the board are Mr Tony Elumelu and Ms. Funke Adekoya (SAN); Prof. Esogbue Augustine; Ms. Ike Yvonne, Publisher, Business Day; and Mr. Frank Aigbigun, among others.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, says the newly inaugurated board of National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) has an onerous task to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into the country.
Aganga said this in Abuja while briefing journalists on the mandate of the council, which was inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said the inauguration of the council was a demonstration of government’s determination to improve the country’s global competitiveness ranking and revitalise its economy.
The Minister said the inauguration of the 18-member board was geared toward increasing productivity and sales for local businesses, adding that it would lead to the creation of more markets for Made-in-Nigeria products.
He said “the objective is to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness by policies that will create an economy that attracts domestic and foreign investment without focusing on any specific interest group or sector.
“The council shall be the focal body responsible for creating awareness on national competitiveness in the country as well as coordinate the efforts of both the public and private sectors to improve Nigeria’s Competitiveness,’’ he said.
The council, according to him, shall recommend relevant policies, proactively monitor and evaluate the progress being made at national and sub-national levels as well as liaise with councils of other countries on global competitiveness issues.
Aganga, said “this will go a long way in developing National Public Policy initiatives to address short, medium and long-term Competitiveness issues confronting the country.”
CAC Registers 245,000 SMEs Free Of Charge
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.
IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal
The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss, expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.
1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta
No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.
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